Relationships and connections with other people can be some of the most rewarding parts of life! However, starting or keeping up strong, healthy relationships can be hard. These tools and resources are meant to get you thinking about how you can improve your current relationships, as well as build new relationships.

Continuing the Conversation

Continue thinking about topics raised in your local WoVeN group, or join a discussion with other women Veterans through our National Social Network.

Questions for Reflection

  • What relationships in your life are most challenging? What is challenging about them?
  • What can you do to manage a challenging relationship?
  • How do your own behaviors contribute to keeping a challenging relationships challenging?
  • What prevents you from developing new relationships?
  • What are the benefits of being vulnerable in a relationship? What are the risks?
  • How did your relationships change when you returned from military service?


Dive deeper into this theme with these self help tools.

 Relationships are deepened when we really take the time to listen to the other person, as well as share information about ourselves. This activity will help you practice these skills and reflect on the experience.

Sometimes we get so caught up in managing the day-to-day life tasks that we forget to nurture our relationship. You can do this exercise with your partner as a way to grow your relationship.

We all benefit from having a diverse social network, especially because people in your life can serve different purposes. Try these tips to start expanding your social network.

Cool Stuff We Found

Check out these recent articles, podcasts, and book recommendations handpicked by the WoVeN team.

Check out this TED talk by Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, who talks about how important relationships are for our long-term health and well-being:

This New York Times article highlights the challenges women face with regard to belonging during military service:

What the Science Says

Learn about important research that relates to the lives of women Veterans.

This study examined whether maintaining social support from military friends following active duty is associated with physical health and use of healthcare among 3,524 women Veterans.

Study Findings:

    • Women Veterans who reported more social support from their military friends were more likely to report better physical health.
    • Women Veterans who reported more social support from their military friends were less likely to go to the doctor.
    • Women with probable PTSD were more likely to report worse physical health and go to the doctor more often, but social support remained protective regardless of whether they had probable PTSD or not.

We Conclude:

  • Maintaining relationships with military friends is associated with positive health outcomes.


Lehavot et al. (2013). The role of military social support in understanding the relationships between PTSD, physical health, and healthcare utilization in women veterans. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 26, 772-775.

Find More Info

Follow these links to find additional information about related topic areas.

Check out the following articles about reconnecting with your children after deployment:

This free, online course for Veterans provides parents with tools that strengthen parenting skills and helps them reconnect with their children:

This resource offers tips about reconnecting with your partner or spouse after deployment:

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